Great drive from Spokane to Portland. Much of the drive is along the Columbia river. The surprising thing to me is the terrain, much of it is extremely dry and dominated by outcrops and cliffs of basalt. As we proceeded westward the gorge became deeper and the cliffs of basalt became higher. We caught a glimpse of Mount Hood a 11,000ft extinct volcano....... The landscape was dominated by dramatic geology (you knew this was coming didn't you?). Along the route we saw 4 huge hydroelectric dams that harness the renewable power of the Columbia river. The downside is those dams exterminated huge runs of Pacific salmon that spawned as far up the river as Athalmere BC over 2000 miles from the Pacific ocean, did we win or lose on that decision? The Columbia river gorge has a steady strong wind from the west and attracts windsurfers from all over North America. In addition these winds provide the power for huge wind farms all along the Columbia gorge. It was a vision of America at work, the Columbia river, over a mile wide, 2000 mile from its source, with water borne freight moving up and down the river. There were rail lines on both the north and south of the river clogged with freight to and from the west coast ports. We were traveling on a four lane interstate highway with cars and trucks moving up and down the gorge. Gosh.........free enterprise at work. We stopped for fuel at a quaint port city on the Columbia river in Oregon. I hopped out and swiped my credit card and started pumping $4.16/gallon gas into my tank. A panic stricken service station attendant came careening out of his lair to inform me that it is illegal for an ordinary citizen to pump their own gas in Oregon or New Jersey (the last bastions of enlightenment). He was concerned that some horrible accident would occur because I was unaware that gasoline was flammable and could not resist the urge to light a cigarette whilst refueling. Travel is enlightenment. I will continue to post my discoveries. Ciao for now.